Videos, Martial Arts, and Embodiment

I took a three-day workshop in digital storytelling last week at Story Center, and made a video:

You can also click here to watch it via the WeVideo program on more of your screen.

Story Center is focused on using digital technology to help people tell personal stories. For this reason, they start the workshop by focusing on the stories people want to tell — not the tech for telling them or the pictures that represent them. Those things come after you put together the story you want to tell.

Among other things, this means that their teachers have to be adept at helping people shape a narrative, which can include dealing with stories that may be painful or deeply personal. But they also have to be equally skilled at helping people learn the tech skills for putting together a video worth watching.

I came to the class with the idea of telling a simple story that I thought would be easy to illustrate, but instead ended up doing something more complicated: a piece on martial arts and embodiment, which is a subject I’ve been focused on for the better part of the last year.

Going through old pictures to find some that would illustrate the story brought back lots of memories — some of them bittersweet. And I spent a lot of time working out how to say what I wanted in 300 words. You’d think that would be easy for someone who’s written as much flash fiction as I have, but making a complicated point in limited time takes work.

As a writer, I find it useful to look at different ways to tell stories. Video is different from oral storytelling, and both are different from a written story. Seeing how those things are different helps me understand more about how to construct a story.

I’m pleased with the work I did, and enjoyed seeing the end results of my fellow students’ projects as well. Story Center is based in Berkeley, but they offer workshops in other places as well. If you want to learn how to use the resources of the Internet to create video, Story Center is a great place to start.

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